To be brutally honest, the Wolfpack did not play well last night by any measure. Sloppy plays, lots of turnovers, penalties, and defensive breakdowns. Not much in the way of attractive hockey. Nonetheless, the Wolfpack stole a win from the Manchester Monarchs thanks to two goals late in the third period and the edge in the shootout. A lot of individuals who won't be happy with how they played, but as a team they, as John Tortorella would say, found a way to win.
Cam Talbot was named First Star and was probably deserving of the title. Talbot had 30 saves on 33 shots. None of the goals were his fault, and it could have been uglier had he not held strong during both 5 v 3s the Wolfpack handed to the Monarchs. He made a really good desperation save on a penalty shot in overtime, extending his right leg pad to barely keep the puck out of the net. He made a few very good saves in the shootout as well.
Chris Kreider is not far off from Talbot in terms of short-term importance. Alain Vigneault implied he would be watching Kreider specifically during last night's game and Kreider played well. While majority of the forwards were sluggish and sloppy, Kreider was buzzing around the entire game. He used his speed very well to find openings for himself in the offensive zone and it was his forecheck that caused a turnover in the offensive zone and led to Kristo's goal.
Connor Allen was a mixed bag. He was credited with three shots, not including the shot that Kristo deflected in. He skated well. However, he had a few gaffes in his own end. He wasn't in very good position on the first goal allowed and essentially screened Talbot. In overtime, he turned over the puck in his own end and then hooked Linden Vey to give him the penalty shot. I'm optimistic about his NHL future but, like any young defensemen, he needs work.
Danny Kristo continues to slowly come along. It's clear that he's going to need some time to fully get comfortable with the pro game. It's also clear that he could have a very bright future. Kristo scored his third goal of the season with a deflection in the first period. He also scored in the shootout with a quick wrister.
I also liked the games of Ryan Bourque, Brandon Mashinter, and Michael Kantor. Bourque played a big role on a penalty kill that was mostly successful against the Monarchs and helped set up the tying goal. Brandon Mashinter had a great assist on a Marek Hrivik goal. Mashinter wound up for a slapshot and the entire Monarch team, goaltender included, committed. Instead, he made a slap-pass out wide to Marek Hrivik, who put it into the open net. Mashinter also scored in the shootout. Kantor had another effective game. He's relentless on the forecheck. He threw multiple hard hits. Kantor has the same qualities that guys like Brandon Prust and Jed Ortmeyer made NHL careers out of. He has very little technical ability, but he's the hardest worker every shift and will do whatever he can to contribute.
Keep reading for updates on other Rangers prospects around the world.
Pavel Buchnevich was one of the few standouts for Severstal Cherepovets, who got demolished 8-3 by Salavat Yulaev. Buchnevich had a very nice assist on Severstal's first goal, drawing two defenders to him as he shielded the puck before dishing it down low. He also scored late in the game.
Steve Fogarty scored his first goal of the season for Notre Dame, who beat Michigan Tech 3-2. Fogarty finished the game with four shots and a +1 rating. He was 6/13 in the faceoff circle.
Michael St. Croix scored a goal and had a primary assist in the Greenville Road Warriors' opening night 5-3 win over the Gwinnett Gladiators. Josh Nicholls was -1 with one shot and an interference minor. Sam Noreau also played in the game.
Adam Tambellini had one shot and was a -1 in North Dakota's 4-2 win over Miami.
Boo Nieves had one shot in Michigan's 1-1 tie with New Hampshire.
Brady Skjei had one shot and was +1 in Minnesota's 6-3 win over Bemidji State.
Troy Donnay was +1 in Erie's 4-3 win over Belleville.
Anthony Duclair had two shots in Quebec's 3-0 win over Moncton.
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